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Blue transfer Staffordshire Tureen with under platter. “Landing of Lafayette.”  PHOTO CREDIT: Skinner Auction Galleries, Boston, MA.

Historical views most popular

American historical views depicted on early 19th century English Staffordshire pottery have never lost their appeal, despite price uppers and downers. Especially popular is the image of the “Landing of General Lafayette” in America. A single platter can be dealer priced at $950. However, several years ago the price could have been double. Currently a Skinner Americana auction has an estimate for the platter of $400-$600. Any guesses?

Historically, Staffordshire, the heart of the 18th century English pottery district, was over ten miles long. It included the most important potteries such as Enoch Wood, Burslem and J & W Ridgeway. Equally important was the pottery of James & Ralph Clews. Enoch Woods is often referred to as the “Father of Pottery.” He opened his business in 1784 and made many types of tableware as well as punch bowls and statues. In the 1830s he introduced his blue and white “Historical Views” made for the growing and lucrative American market. At the same time he made a series of “Historical London Views.”

After the War of 1812 there was great interest in American historical figures and books with paintings of historical events. This came to the attention of the Staffordshire potters. Soon George Washington and historic American buildings and events were turned into transfer print pottery. Entire tea sets, jugs, tureens, and dinnerware were made.

The early pieces were transfer printed in dark blue. One of the reasons for the color was that not only was it decorative but disguised blemishes but kept its color when fired at high temperatures. Historians believe that its greatest productivity was between 1818 and 1830. After that other colors were introduced that included green, light blues and carmine.  During the mid-19th century few American scenes were made.

CLUES: Though many pieces of Historical Views Staffordshire are unmarked there is a way to identify makers. Each of the potters created a wide border with a variety of floral, foliage, fruit and shell designs. They are identified is one of the many price guides as well as

“American Historical Views On Staffordshire   China”, published by Dover Books. Values are determined by the importance of the view, maker, age and rarity.

During the 1920s with the revival of all things relating to early American history, reproductions were made in America and England. They have never stopped being reproduced. Sometimes they are marked “Commemorative.” If from England they are marked “Commemorative.” If from England or elsewhere they will be marked with the country of origin.